Due to the economical crisis that Cuba has had to face from the so-called “special period”, beginning in the first years of the 1990’s, Cuban sport industry, the producer of the Batos brand, had an important decrease in productivity.
The evident shortage of raw materials, whether national or imported, brought about the considerable decrease of the production for massive sport development in the island. Solutions were offered little by little, and the invention has granted a slow recovery process in recent years.
Cuban sport industry, founded on June 25 th, 1965 , is undergoing a recovery process in which they have restarted certain productions that had decreased or even stopped. There are already hundreds of new products of those retaken being enjoyed by Cuban sportsmen. Examples of that are the amount and quality of the production of boxing equipment like gloves and head protectors.
Similar is the baseball situation, considered the national sport by Cubans, with the increase in the production of balls, gloves, and bats. The hand-made baseballs have begun to be used as the official balls of the National Baseball Series from the 2004-2005 Series.
The workers of the sport industry have the will to engage in projects of different complexity that go from the production of canoes or kayaks to the simplest but massive production of chess games to face the crescent interest for that sport in the Cuban people, mainly among children.
These are not the only fields where their quality is proven, however. The textile productions for sport are one of the most developed. The best example are the uniforms wore by the 16 baseball teams taking part in every national series or those of the 4 teams conformed for the Super League, a short baseball tournament after the national series used to train the best players and to make the roster of the national team.
The sport industry is also in charge of the production of the great variety of uniforms that were needed during the celebration of the Second Olympics of Cuban Sport, a multi-sport tournament that took place during the spring of 2004.
However, the highest productive success in 2004 was the opening of a ball production plant capable of manufacturing about 200 000 balls every year to be used in sports such as: basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo, and soccer. The new assembly plant uses a Chinese technology.
Among the ample offer of that industry we find recreational equipment, lighting, and electronic switchboards. Much of their production is exported and some business associations are established between Batos and other firms to participate in cooperated productions.
The sport industry has extended outside Havana counting on subsidiaries in the western province of Pinar del Río ; Morón, in Ciego de Ávila province; Florida , in Camagüey province; in the city of Santiago de Cuba ; and even in the mountainous location of Buey Arriba in the southeastern region of the country. All of them are devoted to leather, textile, and wood productions, while a small footwear equipment is located in Artemisa, 60 km southwest from Havana .
That is the panorama of one of the supporting sectors of Cuban sport movement. There is still a lot to be done, but what has been done so far is palpable. Today’s situation is ostensibly different to that of the first years of the industry whose only primary objective was to produce hand-made baseballs.